Coracias indica, Lin.
123. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 214; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 456 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 382; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 109; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 61.
THE INDIAN ROLLER. Nilkant, Hin.
Length, 12 to 13.5; expanse, 23.3 to 25 ; wing, 7.25 ; tail, 5.1 ; tarsus, 0.98; bill at gape, 1.7; bill at front, 1.1.
Bill dusky-brown; irides dark red-brown; eyelids yellow ; legs dusky orange-yellow.
Head above and nape dingy greenish-blue, the forehead tinged with rufous; hind-neck, scapulars, inter-scapulars and tertiaries dull ashy-brown with a green gloss, and tinged with vinous on the hind-neck; back blue; rump and upper tail-coverts deep violet-blue; lesser-coverts and shoulders deep cobalt-blue ; the other coverts dingy greenish-blue; the winglet, greater coverts and quills pale sky-blue, with a broad band of violet-blue on the middle of the wings, occupying the terminal half of the secondaries and last two or three primaries ; the first seven primaries tipped dark blue; tail, with the two centre feathers, dull green, the others dark violet-blue, with a broad pale-blue band, occupying the greater part of the terminal half of the tail, and widening exteriorly ; beneath, chin, throat, and breast, light vinous-purple; the feathers with pale fulvous shafts passing into tawny-isabella, with light streaks on the abdomen; lower abdomen, flanks, vent, and under tail-coverts pale blue; wings beneath entirely pale blue, with a broad violet band.
The Roller, or as Europeans prefer to call it, the Blue Jay, is generally distributed throughout the district; it is a permanent resident, but retires to the better-wooded portions of the country to breed. At and near Hyderabad, Sind, I found many nests and have several times taken them in Central India.
They breed during April, May and June, in holes in trees, old walls and roofs; the size of the nest depends mainly on the size of the hole, and is composed of grass, feathers, and bits of rags, &c.; the eggs, generally four in number, are broad oval in shape, glossy china-white in color, and measure 13 in length by 1.06 in breadth.